FARMINGTON – Another San Juan County, New Mexico, school has voluntarily closed and switched to online learning as a result of an increase in positive rapid tests and potential exposure to COVID-19.
Aztec High School did not reach the state threshold to trigger a mandatory closing. That threshold is four rapid responses in 14 days. Rather, the school had two positive results and one “odd” incident related to a basketball game, said Jonathan Acrey, director of human resources for Aztec schools and speaking on behalf of the superintendent. A person who was COVID-positive and not directly associated with the school district attended a basketball game.
The district looked at the two positive cases and the incident at the basketball game and decided it would be “wise” to voluntarily return to online learning exclusively.
“We wanted to proactively get ahead of it and stop any kind of spread, making sure that we’re keeping our staff and our students safe, and get a good time period to make sure we weren’t further fueling anything,” Acrey said.
He said the district decided it was in the best interest to voluntarily close for five days to get things to settle down rather than run the risk of more infections and having to shut down for two weeks.
Students will return to in-person learning Monday.
Acrey said the state plans to launch a voluntary student testing initiative next week in schools that opt in to the program.
The New Mexico Public Education Department said it will release more information about the program when it becomes available, but that schools were still in the set-up phase.